Ann Arbor long-running community institution, Running Fit,
is moving on up to the east side.
Owner (and appropriately named) Randy Step says the new Running Fit will open this weekend in the Arbor Hills shopping center on Washtenaw Avenue near Platt Road. It'll be the first new store in the eight-store chain in four years.
"We don't really open stores very often. We're not about expanding. It's based on a lot of things: the right staff, a trained staff, knowing the running community, the location," Step says. "We have a far west side store and a downtown store. This will make it easier for people to get to us...We've beent training a manager for a year...One of the best things is you can go for a run right from the store. There's a park across the street."
He's excited to be a part of mix of high-end stores - 17 as of now, he says - opening in Arbor Hills. Among them: Lululemon, The North Face, Anthropologie and a second location of dowtnown Ann Arbor's Cafe Zola.
"This should fit nicely," reaching runners Ypsilanti and other nearby cities. And we like the kinds of tenants that are there. They're for like-minded consumers."
The next big step for Running Fit could be adding condos above the downtown store. Step received approval last week from the Ann Arbor Historical Commission to make changes to the building he calls "the ugliest in Ann Arbor."
After a years of owning all but a fourth of the buiding Step and his parnter now own it all and are being encouraged by the city to add height to it and create density for downtown. The top of the building burned in the 1950s.
The condos, still many months away if the project indeed is worth pursuing, would add height with six, 900-square-foot condos, he says.
"We'll be going through at least a year and a half of approvals," he says. He next appears before the Ann Arbor city council in November.
Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Randy Step, co-owner, Running Fit